I often came across that concept of pain and pleasure in various self-development contents, and while the idea is easy to grasp; creating pain and pleasure to shape our lives isn’t easy to implement. It is crucial we understand that our beliefs are massively shaped by pain or pleasure. In a way, we behave like water, we take the path of least resistance, or in other words the path to pleasure or least pain.

Without realising it, all of us have maps of why we do what we do (our beliefs). These maps can be modified by associating pain to the roads we do not want to travel anymore, and on the opposite, creating pleasure, to the roads we have to have our life road trip on.


So far, I described pain and pleasure as quite a black and white thing, but it might not be. In many occasions, what looks like pain, is actually pleasure. Or at least, we found a way to create pleasure from our pain.

I will share a personal example from my youth. As a teenager, I used to crave the attention of others. I wanted to be noticed by the girls and by the cool kids. If I wouldn’t get the attention I wanted, I will start to isolate, to focus on my loneliness and I would turn sad. I was creating pain. While I was in pain, it allowed me to be creative and to write poetry, which I will get pleasure from writing and sharing with others. In other times and after a while of being in my world of sadness, other people will notice my suffering, and I will finally get the attention I wanted. To achieve some pleasure, I would create a lot of pain in my life. As I got my pleasure through creating pain, that pain became a source of pleasure, and instead of changing my map, I would just follow the same road over and over.

In that case, I had a poor map. A belief that the only way for others to value me, and give me the attention I wanted was to create sadness in my life. I would literally look at the experiences of my life with a negative light. I will focus on what others have, and I don’t, how others look or how all my imperfections make me such a flawed being. From all that, I will create sadness.

In my current read, Awaken the Giant Within: Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny from Tony Robbins, he gave a three-step process to change these beliefs. It is a way for us to use better maps.

First, is associating massive pain to that belief. Usually, the map we have been using have been causing us tremendous pain in the past. It is then crucial to connect to that pain and realise how much our current belief is hurting us and will hurt us in the future if we keep it. While we can tolerate a small amount of pain in our lives, at times even enjoy it, we usually change when pain is too much. Pain makes people change their lives.

Second in creating doubt for these beliefs. We all have beliefs that we used to live by, and that today we wouldn’t be comfortable sharing them with the world. It happened because we doubted them so that we could create other beliefs. Doubt can come from many different sources: new experiences, learning something new, realising the limitations of our current map or simply maturing and getting wiser. A change can only happen if we question our beliefs.

“Whenever we belief in something, we no longer question it in any way”

“If you question anything enough, eventually you’ll being to doubt it”

Okay so we looked at the past, current and future pain, and we questioned our limiting belief. What is next?

The next and final step is creating a conviction. But not any conviction, one that will serve us for the best and change our lives for the better. A conviction is beyond belief, because of the high intensity of emotions that go into a conviction.

Creating a conviction can be done in four steps:

  1. Start with a belief
  2. Reinforce that belief by adding new and powerful references to it (experienced or imaginary)
  3. Commit 110% to that belief. For example, ask yourself: “What will it cost me if I don’t do go for it?”
  4. Then, go for it! It’s time for action! The more you take action, the stronger will be your commitment!


That was a lot of pain and pleasure; I hope you learned a valuable tool today.  Thank you for your time and for reading this post.

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